Israel should thank Judge Richard Goldstone and his commission’s important report. After subjecting him to useless, automatic mudslinging, Israel suddenly realized that it should finally investigate the events of Operation Cast Lead. Why? What happened? The ground has started to tremble under the feet of a number of Israeli statesmen and officers.
That, it turns out, is the only way to teach us a lesson. Goldstone held up a mirror to us; we tried to smash it, as is our wont, but this time, as opposed to earlier reports, smashing it did not work. Suddenly it was reported (and denied) that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has asked former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak to head an investigative committee, suddenly the head of Military Intelligence is calling for the adoption of the “ethics code” composed by Prof. Asa Kasher, and suddenly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an urgent meeting to discuss establishing an investigative committee.
What happened? Again, it turns out, everything is personal. It is also too little, too late: An “investigative committee” is not enough, nor is the ethics code written by Kasher, who told Maariv a few days ago that the Gazan doctor Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish was responsible for the deaths of his daughters. And yet it’s good the ground has started to quake under our feet.
Is the world hard on Israel? Perhaps. But Israel also enjoys endless preferential treatment. The world acts differently toward us, turns a blind eye to Dimona and is silent about the occupation, and now it no longer wants to keep silent about Gaza. Why? Because this time we went too far. That is not only the world’s right, it is its duty.
Goldstone began the work, Israel should continue it. In the end, the image that looks out from Goldstone’s mirror is our image, not his.
It’s a point picked up by the wonderful Israeli-based blogger The Magnes Zionist:
I, for one, am grateful that Israel is sticking close to the script. Israel is a systematic violator of human rights, but unlike many other systematic violators, it is intensely sensitive to its international reputation. That is why the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment campaign is so attractive. There is no other violator of human rights in the world that is more sensitive to world public opinion (and governmental opinion) than Israel.
And Judge Goldstone will not be silenced. I have now heard him speak several times. Listen to him speaking with Christiane Amanpour here. He is an eloquent and persuasive spokesman against Israel’s war crimes, and against the world’s double standard of only punishing weak countries with no powerful friends, for human rights violations.